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The Only Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need

I have one word for you. Pancetta. Pancetta is what makes this the best turkey recipe ever. It’s the magic ingredient that will make your Christmas turkey a culinary masterpiece and well, frankly probably have everyone eating Christmas dinner at your house from now on. On second thought, maybe you don’t want that. I’ll leave it up to you.

best turkey recipe

Pancetta-Sage Butter

4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 ounces thinly sliced Pancetta
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps minced shallot
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tsps black pepper

Turn on food processor and drop garlic in to chop. Add pancetta. Pulse to chop finely. Add all remaining ingredients. Pulse blending to coarse paste. Transfer to small bowl. (You can make this up to 2 days ahead)

Turkey

1 14 to 16 pound Butterball turkey (thawed completely) Removed neck, heart and gizzard
8 fresh sage sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tbsps olive oil
2 cups chicken broth

Set rack on lowest position in oven and preheat to 325F. Sprinkle inside of turkey with salt and pepper. Spread with 2 tablespoons of the Pancetta-Sage butter. Starting at the neck end, slide hand between skin and meat of breast, thighs and upper drumsticks to loosen skin. Spread remaining butter under skin over thighs, drumsticks and breasts. Fill inside of turkey with herb sprigs. Tie legs to hold shape and tuck wings underneath.

Place turkey on rack in large roasting pan. Rub turkey all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups of chicken broth into pan. Roast turkey until internal temperature reaches 180F in deepest part of thigh. For all your questions on safe-handling of a turkey see this great resource from Butterball Canada.

Gravy

1/2 cup diced thinly sliced pancetta
1/4 cup shallots
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh sage

Scrape juices and browned bits from roasting pan into large glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Heat reserved fat in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add pancetta, saute until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add shallots, saute 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour; whisk until golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth, wine and degreased pan juices. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook to desired consistency. Whisk in fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve to your adoring family.

“This post is sponsored by Butterball Canada. In exchange this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and monetary compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.”

This recipe has been adapted slightly from a recipe I pulled from the November 2007 issue of Bon Appetit.

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Pasta with Asparagus & Caramelized Onions

First off, I’d like to start a petition please to classify pancetta as a food group. Line forms behind me. Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, you won’t be surprised to hear that there is pancetta in this recipe, along with caramelized onions and asparagus. Cue the singing angels because it’s yummy. This has been a springtime staple now for 7 years in this house! Another delicious recipe from the bible, Fine Cooking.

Pasta with Asparagus & Caramelized Onions

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, peeled if thick, and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (about half a batch) Caramelized Onions
3/4 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
3/4 lb. dried gemelli, penne or rotini
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tsp. sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put 2 Tbs. of the oil and the pancetta in a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta begins to brown and renders much of its fat, 5 to 7 min. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels. Raise the heat to medium high, add the asparagus, and season with 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir often until the asparagus starts to brown, about 3 min. Add the caramelized onions and chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 4 min. Stir in 1/4 tsp. pepper and set aside in a warm spot.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, until it’s just tender, about 11 min. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the asparagus. Set the pan over medium-high heat and toss well. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano, the vinegar, and the cooked pancetta and continue cooking, stirring, for 1 min. to meld all the flavors. If the pasta begins to dry, add the reserved pasta water. Serve with a drizzle of the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and a sprinkling of the remaining Parmigiano.

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